The lyrical poet Alcaeus was born in Mitilini between 630 and 620BC. He was very active in politics and this you can find back in his poetry. His poems were his weapon in the political war. Besides his political poems he also wrote love poems and hymnes dedicated to the gods and heroes. He’s known as one of the most important poets from the ancient world. Most people think that he was the best of all, with exception of Sappho. His poems are recognized as the most important example of Aeolian style of poetry.
The lyrical poet Arion was born in Mithymna, but lived for many years in Korinthos. They say that he lived around 625 and 585 BC. Unfortunately nothing of his poems is saved, but they say that he was the best lyre player of his time. He made the dithyrambe better and introduced the circle-shaped choir. That’s how he formed the ancient Greek tragedy and left his stamp on this kind.
Benjamin of Lesvos
Benjamin, one of the biggest teachers of his generation, was born in Plomari in 1759. He was a monk in the Pantokratoras Monastery on the mountain Athos and in 1779 he was transferred to, belonging to the church, Kydonies Monastery (Aivali). He followed there a general course of education and continued his studies in Pisa and Paris till 1796. He returned back to Kydonies and give education on the academy in metafysics, ethics, mathematic and nature sciences from 1800. He was accused of his surprising ideas in his teaching methods, but not accused by the government of the church. He was a member of the Filiki Etaireia or the friendly society (which has the goal to set Greece free of the Ottoman occupation). He played a main role in the revolution of 1821. He died in Nafplio in 1824 and left valuable works of philosophy, nature sciences and mathematic behind.
Theofilos was an autodidact and was born somewhere between 1867 and 1875 in Varia. He was one of 8 children from a poor family and his excentric behaviour made him a subject of irony for the people of the village. When he was 18 years old he decided to leave the area, so that he could spend his time on painting. He lived in Smyrna, where he painted and did strange jobs for the Greek Consult. Then he lived for 30 years in Pilion where he painted for his living. In the middle of the twenties he returned to Lesvos, where he lived till he died in 1934. His inspiration was his love for Greece and its history. He painted on every surface that he could find; walls of houses, coffee shops, bakeries, on wood, linen etc. Stratis Eleftheriadis was surprised of his work in 1929 and helped him to organize an exhibition of his work in Paris.
He was born in Molivos in 1849, but he spent the most time of his life in England. He was involved with poetry and literal translations, but made himself known for his prose.
His friend Giannis Psycharis called him "the king of stories". His first works are published under his real name (Kleanthis Michailidis), but became famous with his pseudonym name. He died in 1923 in Antibes, France of tuberculosis.
Stratis Eleftheriadis (Teriade)
He was born in Mitilini in 1897. On the age of 19 he left to Paris to study laws. He loved the art of painting and during his time in Paris he also studied this and became one of the best art critics. He was the most known publisher of magazines, books and newspapers about art. He worked together with the big names of international art societies. He stimulated a lot of art friends what lead to the publication of his “big books”. He financed the total building of the Theofilos museum in 1964. Also his vision of the Library museum, where all his work could be shown, lead to the construction of the Teriade Museum. He died in Paris in 1983.
The short story writer, journalist and
member of the Academy of Athens,
Stratis Myrivillis was born in 1890 in Sikamineas, on the slope of the mountain
Myrivilli. His real name was Efstratios Stamatopoulos. He studied language
sciences in Athens and worked later as a journalist for a
newspaper on Lesvos. One of
his most important works “I zoi en tafo” was published for the first time in a
newspaper in Mitilini. He’s known as prose writer and is a representative of
anti-military literature. He died in 1969.
The politician and lawmaker Pittacus lived between 650 and 570 BC in Mitilini. He had moderate democratic ideas, but worked together with the aristocracy, lead by Alcaeus and his brothers, to banish tyranny in that way. After the last tyran Melanchrus was banished, the people gave the power to Pittacus. He ruled for 7 years and resigned when the democracy in Mitilini was established. They called him one of the 7 legends of the ancient time for the wisdom he showed as ruler and lawmaker.
Sappho, the biggest lyrical poet in the history of the world, was born in Eressos around 630 BC. She grew up in the times that women were not allowed to do anything except having babies and look after their families. Sappho was from an aristocratic family and had 3 brothers, no sisters. Her father loved her very much and when Sappho asked her father to follow lessons too, he could not resist. She got married with a politician and moved to Mitilini. She was also involved with politics and many men respected her for her opinion. However, not everyone could appreciate that and start to talk bad about her. They went to Italy. Sappho returned to Greece after five years as a widow and mother of a daughter. She started a girls school which taught in poetry, music and good behaviour. She wrote love poems, hymnes dedicated to the gods and epithalams (songs or poems for the bride and groom during their marriage feast). The quality of her poetry showed that she was known as a living “muse” in ancient times. Plato called her the “tenth muse”.
The poet and musician Terpander was born in Antissa in 710 BC. He made music in different ways. They think that he found out the barbitos, a simple form of the lydic harp. Also he improved the lyre by adjusting 3 cords to the instrument that had already 4 in its time. He introduced the lyric poetry, his own work and that of Homerus transformed into music. He invented also a new music system, composed of independent melodic patterns, the so-called nomes of Terpander.
The philosopher Theofrastos was born in Eressos in 372 BC. He was a disciple and a worker at the Peripatetic School. He studied at the academy of Plato, where he became friends with Aristoteles. Aristoteles gave him the name Theophrastus (his real name was Tyrtamos), because he had a “Godly” way to express himself. (Theos = God, phrasis = phrase). He died in Athens in 287 BC and left a big heritage on the field of logicness, physics, meteorology and ethics. They say that he’s also the father of botany because he was the first person who accepted it as a science on its own and not as a consumer good for the medical science.